Mike's Minute: Labour have the numbers, so why would they bring in the Greens?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 21 Oct 2020, 10:02AM

Mike's Minute: Labour have the numbers, so why would they bring in the Greens?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 21 Oct 2020, 10:02AM

Personally, I don’t mind if the Greens are part of the government, because if they are, they won't be a significant part.

Talks allegedly wrap up next week.

A good indicator of where Labour are at with the Greens is when, last term, Eugenie Sage torpedoed Waihi Mine's expansion plans for no good reason, and she was eventually overruled by Grant Robertson and David Parker.

The clue there is the Labour Party like the Greens, but not the dangerous ideological end of them. So, whatever the Greens get, and they will get something, it won't be the stuff that scares the horses.

They will get a deal, for as far as I can work out, two reasons. One, Jacinda Ardern is a consensus politician. Two, there seems to be a view that you don’t want to be attacked from both sides.

National and ACT will go at them over delivery, so they don’t need the Greens being a pain over pumped hydro, national parks, and clean air.

But that second reason is, in fact, wrong. MMP isn't about coalitions or it doesn’t have to be. We haven't adapted our thinking to Saturday's result.

MMP is a voting mechanism, not necessarily a government mechanism. National did business with the Maori Party when they didn’t have to, Labour can do the same with the Greens, but they're not beholden. A mandate is a mandate, if you don’t need votes why buy them?

In that is the problem for the Greens, they're not needed. And not only are they not needed; they’ve wedded themselves to Labour so what are they going to do without a deal? Bring Labour down? I don't think so.

Are they going to carp from outside the tent? Probably. But carp about what? Labour, I am sure, back themselves as a greenish type party. They back their environmental credentials. They're greens without the nuttiness.

That's the stuff the Greens would bark on about. Stuff so mad most of the rest of us would be grateful it's not the insanity that’s holding a Cabinet portfolio.

In other words, anyone can whinge, but if the whinge is the whinge of the crazy it's not effective. And not only that if you're mainstream, you're grateful you’ve got nothing to do with it.

All of this reinforces the Labour power base. It's enormous, they’ve got the numbers, got the mandate, so there's no reason to do anything with anyone.

Just because MMP produced deals historically doesn’t mean it has to. The last government was a coalition of necessity, and it wasn’t that flash.

When you’ve got the keys to the car all to yourself, who wants passengers?